Relay Race Brings Joy to those in Need this Holiday Season

Costumed runners walk, jog and run in a crazy race; a fundraiser for area children

AIKEN, S.C. (December 5, 2017) – Dozens of contractor and U.S. Department of Energy employees at the Savannah River Site (SRS) recently combined zany fun with athletic competition to create a race like no other, all for a good cause. Each year, the “Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes” relay race raises thousands of dollars to purchase hundreds of bicycles and tricycles for the SRS Toys for Tots campaign.

According to event coordinator and SRNS scientist Mary Baird, this was the seventh Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes race held at the SRS training track. “From year to year, you’ll see teams with their own costume themes … reindeer, minions, eggheads, super heroes and elves for example, all racing each other. We typically have four or five members per team running a total of six laps,” she said. “It’s all for a good cause, at this unique track meet.”

Annual favorites Centerra finished first again, seeking each year to set a new track record for the race. Participants in this year’s “Dash for Bikes, Walk for Trikes” relay race raised nearly $7,500 for the SRS 2017 Toys for Tots campaign.

To date, more than $35,000 has been donated through this annual event, which was used to purchase over 650 new bicycles and tricycles. Proceeds from last year’s race alone enabled the procurement of about 200 new bicycles and tricycles.

“The growing tradition and comradery of this race to help others is impressive,” said race founder, participant and SRNS environmental geologist Jeff Ross. “This competition crosses company lines. For one afternoon each year, we shake hands, pass a baton-like toy and ensure we’ve done our best with one common goal in mind.”

Ross explained that some of the teams work hard to prepare for the race, while others walk the track smiling and waving to the many observers. “After all, in the end, the result is the same. The real winners are the kids,” he said.

During this holiday season, many children throughout the greater Aiken-Augusta area will be thrilled to find a new bicycle or tricycle next to their Christmas tree, thanks to the caring participants and supporters of this very unusual race.

“I believe every member of each team is genuinely pleased to offer the energy, time and talent it takes to make this event a success every year,” said Baird. “The generosity of the employees at SRS can also be seen in the many types of fund-raising efforts supported at SRS resulting in the helping of underprivileged kids numbering in the thousands throughout the region,” said Baird. “The Christmas spirit is alive and well at the Savannah River Site.”